The era between the revolutionary upheavals in Europe in 1848 and the opening of World War I was one of immense changes. Encompassing such developments as nationalism, the Industrial Revolution, the growth of political and economic liberalism, and the rise of the social sciences, this period contributed some of the most significant ideas and institutions which characterize contemporary Western Civilization. Their impact. Indeed, now challenges virtually the entire world.
In the same age there arose the phenomenon of socialism, a family name for a group of ideas which received increasing attention in the latter half of the nineteenth century as the Western World sought solutions to the political, economic, and social problems of the modern age. Socialism came into vogue earlier in the century as a descriptive term applied primarily to the doctrines of Robert Owen, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Charles Fourier. As a family of ideas, however, socialism has a lengthy and mixed ancestry, dating back to the first years of recorded history. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "Pt. XVI: Developments in Socialism, (1848-1914)." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 1-2.